It was early morning in Tokyo. A young adult with long, blonde hair raised up from her slumber at the sound of her alarm clock blaring an annoying beep. It had been going off for the last ten seconds before she reached over to slam it off with her hand. She wanted to hit the snooze button, but she knew that she couldn't. This morning was important. It was her senior finals exam, a must-pass if she wanted to graduate and get out of high school for good. She looked at her clock to see what time it was.

"No way I slept that long!" she exclaimed. It was 7:30am. "Craaap, I'm going to be late."

This was Usagi Tsukino, aged eighteen, panickingly throwing herself out of bed, throwing her black cat Luna off in the process. Luna's eyes popped open at the frenzy going on in the bedroom right then.

"Usagi! What is the matter with…?" The cat began to ask, but by looking at the clock now on the ground, already got her answer. "Oh, no, Usagi. You didn't just oversleep on the day of the finals?"

The teenager was frantically getting ready, changing her clothes and trying to make herself look as best as she could. "Can't talk right now, Luna. I've got to goooooo!"

At that moment, she swooshed past Luna, practically leaving a vapor trail behind in the process. Luna just looked on as she heard the commotion downstairs. "Oh, Usagi," she said with a worrisome hint in her voice. "Of all the mornings this earth brings to us, it had to be this one."

Usagi rushed downstairs, almost slipping like old days, and into the kitchen, where she saw her mother sitting down enjoying a cup of coffee. She turned to her daughter with a smile. "Good morning, sweetie."

"No time, mother," Usagi said as she was pacing around the kitchen for something to eat on. "Oh God, why didn't you wake me?"

"I… I thought you were already up and just getting ready," her mother responded.

"I'm going to be so late," the teenager then spoke hysterically, grabbing some mochi and then running out of the kitchen, grabbing her book bag and then gunning it out the front door.

It seemed like an eternity getting to Juuban Municipal High School. Usagi wanted to be optimistic, but there was the thought creeping in the back of her head that she would be tardy for the exams. If that happened, then she wouldn't know what to do. A whole nother year of high school without any of her friends there scared the shit out of her. Of course, she always had a plan for these kinds of situations.

"Shortcuts, always rely on the shortcuts."

At that point, she cut into an alleyway, trying her best not to knock anything down. She then stopped, looking up at the chain-linked structure in front of her. That fence. That damn fence. But she had no time as she took a couple steps back, throwing her book bag over, holding the mochi with her mouth, and leaping upwards. She had become a pro at this. The more higher ground she gained, the faster she could get over.

After making sure she wasn't going to rip her skirt, Usagi plopped down, grabbing her book bag and continuing to run to the end of the alleyway. She turned a corner. Suddenly, as if she had run into a brick wall, she was on her butt, dropping her school supplies and the mochi that she had just pulled out of her mouth. The blonde teenager looked up to see what she had ran into, and saw a man who seemed just a couple years younger than her knocked down as well.

"Sorry about that," she then said. The guy then pulled himself up, wiping his school uniform off and then walking over to Usagi, offering to help her up by extending his hand. This was where she got a better look at him. He had a rather pale complexion, which really brought out his short brown hair and eyes.

"Guess we should've both been watching where we were going," he spoke with a smile.

Usagi just stared at the kid for a few seconds. She wasn't expecting this kind of politeness from a stranger. Usually everyone's so rude in the morning time. The least she could do was accept his offer and grab his hand.

"Hey, you're wearing a Juuban uniform," Usagi then said as she was helped to her feet. "Have we met before?"

He bent over to pick up a cigarette that was already a quarter way burnt through. "Probably not," he replied, taking a pull off of the cancer stick. "I've only been here a week."

As he spoke, he was exhaling smoke, which lingered towards Usagi and really brought an offensive odor into her nostrils. She plugged her nose. "Do you mind not smoking that thing? It stinks."

The kid looked down at his cig. "Oops," he said with a smirk, throwing it down and smothering it out. "Sometimes I don't realize how rude that can be."

Usagi looked down at her watch. "Crap! I've got to go." She rushed to grab her things from off the ground before taking off, trying her best to apologize to the guy before her voice became out of range. He simply looked down at his watch. He didn't seem too concerned as he took out another cigarette, lit it, and walked in the opposite direction.

Even at a running pace, and the school just within seeing distance, the path to Juuban High seemed like an eternity.


It was at this point she had come to a halt, bending over and gasping for air as the voice she had heard ran up to catch her. It was the voice of a notably tall girl; dark green eyes, brown hair tied up into a ponytail that reached just the upper part of her back. This was Makoto Kino, who was the same age as Usagi and on the course to the same destination.

"Just… barely… made it," Usagi gasped out. As she finally caught her breath and stood back up straight, she turned around to greet her friend.

"What's the rush?" Makoto asked with a smile.

"I woke up thirty minutes late and I was panicking and I rushed over here, plus I ran into this kid which put me even more behind and…"

She stopped. Her words were coming out faster than she and Makoto could process. "Gaaah, it's just so stressful! I crammed as much study time as I could and I still don't know if I'll be able to pass. What if all this hard work was for nothing?"

The tall girl put a hand on Usagi's shoulder. "Hey, kiddo, you're going to do just fine," she assured. "Just relax and take a deep breath. You're overthinking it."

The tall girl looked up at the clock placed near the top of the school. 7:55am. "Come on, let's go."

Usagi gave off a smirk, but a brief one that faded before continuing on towards the school. Makoto then followed, noticing a sense of anxiety among her friend. "Go on, Usagi, speak to me," she said. "Obviously there's a lot on your mind. Maybe a brief chat will relax the brain."

Usagi looked at Mako. "Just been a little antsy about today. You know, the exams, graduation, life afterwards, it's all a lot to take in. Like, what if we go our own separate ways? I pretty much grew up and matured with you and the others. It's going to be hard having to say goodbye to that."

Makoto seemed almost shocked at the response. "That's crazy! Why would we ever 'go our separate ways'? We've been best friends for so long now it's hard to imagine life without you guys."

She continued. "Besides, I don't plan on going anywhere after graduation. I would still like to open up that bakery, and there's a nice little shop a couple miles north of here that I have my eye on."

Usagi chuckled at that. "Usagi, you're thinking way too much into this," Makoto reassured. "It's all going to be okay. In fact, things are looking as bright for the future as they can possibly get. We'll all stay in touch, no matter what."

With that, Usagi smiled. "You really think so?" she asked.

"Of course I think so!" Makoto exclaimed.

They looked up at the clock. 7:58am. Just enough time to walk into class and be seated. Usagi took a deep breath. Makoto turned to her, her green eyes seeming to glow at this point, and with a deep breath of her own, spoke.

"Let's go kick this exam's ass."

With a laugh, the two girls walked into the school. Makoto was always so positive about things, so it was nice for Usagi to have her around, especially for times like this. She just hoped, for what it was worth, that her words would stay true.

Two in the afternoon. Seconds seemed like days as the final bell finally rang at Juuban Municipal High School. But the shriek of the rings was easily outnumbered by the shriek of thousands of ecstatic student bursting out the door, happy that the summer vacation was finally here. One shriek in particular, though, was loud enough to break the glass of every building in Toyko. This shriek, of course, belonged to Usagi, as she held up her test paper which displayed a 93% score.

"I did it!" she shouted as loud as she could. "I am the happiest girl in the world right now! Oh my god, this is so great!"

Her words were coming out of her mouth faster than her friends could process them. Makoto laughed. "See? I told you you'd pass."

"It's crazy to think graduation has finally come," a girl with aqua hair spoke up behind them. This was Ami Mizuno, who was looking at her test results as well.

"Let me guess, a perfect score?" Usagi said with an almost sarcastic tone. Ami just looked up with a smile.

"More than that," she replied.

Usagi and Makoto looked at each other with confusion. "Is that even possible?" the tall girl wondered as Ami turned her paper over to let her friends see the score.

"110%?" the two girls exclaimed in unison.

"Seems I exceeded more than I was expecting," the aqua haired girl said confidently, wearing a smile as bright as the sun.

"I'll say," Usagi answered back. She and Mako saw another one of their friends, a blonde by the name of Minako Aino, walk up and wrap her arms around the group.

"Isn't this great?" Minako asked gleefully. "Just a couple days away from earning our diplomas!"

"Minako, don't sneak up on me like that!" Ami exclaimed.

Taking her arms off of the girls, Minako rubbed the back of her head. "Sorry about that. I'm just so excited," she chuckled.

"Anybody want to celebrate with some pizza?" Makoto asked.

"That sounds great to me!" Usagi exclaimed without hesitation.

Ami was the next to respond. "I could go for something to eat right now."

"And maybe head down to the arcade?" Usagi suggested.

"Sounds like a plan!" Minako exclaimed.

The girls continued on talking and laughing as they began their course to the pizzeria. They passed an alleyway where, unbeknownst to them, there was a shadowy figure. It peeked out just enough to where half of its face was visible, and it eyed the group as they passed by. And with a grin from ear to ear, quietly spoke to himself.

"That's them."